Summary of interview in Billed Bladet #07, 2017.
By Trine Larsen.
QMII was recently interviewed by the Association The North, about the Scandinavian countries and her relationship with the other Nordic royal familes.
That is very much in QMII's frank and cheerful style! - I may need some help for better translations of some of QMII's expressions.
QM: "We have a tendency to believe that we here in Denmark are damned good, and when we add to the other Nordic countries, we are even better. But then we do have some weight behind the words.
The typical for us is that we are five nations (*) with closely related languages. We can understand each other without to much waving the arms around - and in many cases without having to translate. (**)
If we make a bit of effort we can easily find each others in our language and it is quite unique in the world that five completely independent nations have such a close language-community.
Well, we write differently and we pronounce differently, but from a common base".
Q: Besides the language what is the most important common ballast?
QMII: "I think history is the most important for the sense of community (***) and I'm also very fond of experiencing and exploring the roots of history, not only in the Denmark and the North. (****)
But even though the common history binds us together, I believe you can sense the Nordic roots very close up, no matter where you originally had your roots. You go far with interest, knowledge and understanding. Regardless whether it's about Nordic history and identity or something completely different".
Does QMII see herself as a Nordic person?
QMII: "Yes, absolutely. I probably know Norway the best of the Nordic countries, because I have very close friends in Norway and have been skiing in Norway for a couple of weeks every years for the past twenty years, all the way back to 1973.
I think I know Norway pretty well, I have certainly trodden through many kilometers of Norwegian snow on skis...".
She adds that she hasn't had that under the skin experiences in Sweden even though she knows the country pretty well, not least through her morfar (maternal grandfather).
About the Nordic RF's, she says: "My own family relations is a bridge in itself (between the countries). The Nordic royal families belong together. We are very clsoe to each other. The same thing applies for the children. The Crown Prince is very, very good friends with Crown Prince Victoria and Prince Daniel. It's the same for his relationship to Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit. They see each other a lot, but at each others homes and out in the world. They are closer that I were to my cousins (male cousins), because the three heirs are close age-wise.
The present king Harald was pretty adult when I was fifteen, and not grown up at all!. The same thing with King Carl Gustav who is six years younger tan me. Back then he was just a little kid, but now that we are real grown-ups all of us, we have become closer".
QMII hope and is indeed confident that the good RF-relationships will continue in the future.
It annoys QMII that Swedish and Norwegian and the culture and literature of these countries are hardly taught in schools anymore. - That's true. They were in my time. We were introduced to some of the literature by Swedish and Norwegian authors. And Swedish children's programmes were (and are!) extremely popular and not anywhere as politically correct as nowadays.
QMII was also taught Swedish in school and in fact that made it difficult for her, because having Swedish relatives, she spoke Swedish better than her teacher. Her relatives had problems understanding Danish, so she had to speak Swedish when she was with her cousins. (*****)
Despite the fact that the Nordic countries have a lot in common and that you almost feel at home and a part of it if you see a name like Volvo abroad, there are
"Especially the Danes are very good at teasing the others. We are so laid back. We are so funny! The Danes are bad at not taking anything seriously/solemnly. We like to say that if we get away with it, we get way with it, and if we don't get away with it, it's probably work out alright anyway. (Please substitute with a better phrase.
But are we really that great here in the North?
QMII: "Sure we are! We also have a tendency here in Denmark to think we are damned good, and when we add the other Nordic countries, we are even better".
Yeah, well. We do have a tendency, each of us, to be enough in ourselves (better phrase anyone?) and very much when together. But is that necessarily a negative trait"?
Q: Can our values be used internationally?
QMII: "We certainly believe that ourselves. Deep down we believe we are best and that others can learn a tremendously lot from us. We are certainly best at being Nordic - that is, us in the five Nordic countries.
The very most important thing is that it feels natural that you associate with one another. That is more important than what treaties and deals will say, even though I certainly will not put down the formal Nordic association-organizations (like Nordic Council).
The Swedes are moving along a different course that Denmark and Norway. It is glimpsed that the Swedes feel more accomplished than the rest of us, even though that tendency probably and hopefully is waning. That can amuse one's black soul"! (******)
(*) Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Finland, where the second language is to a very large degree is Swedish.
(**) Most Copenhageners, unsurprisingly, understand Swedish very well indeed. It's a bit different for us in the western part of DK. We are not exposed much to Swedish. The great teacher, the TV, is not of much help as Swedish public TV is excruciatingly boring.
In Northern Jutland, people are generally well versed in Norwegian and in the south it's German.
(***) Despite the fact that Sweden and Denmark holds the world record in the number of wars fought between our countries. On average one war per generation for 500 years. - Way surpassing France and England.
(****) People from outside Scandinavia usually say Scandinavia, but we ourselves have a tendency to prefer the Nordic Countries or simply the North.
(*****) That I believe is still very much true. I understand it's very difficult for Swedes to understand spoken Danish.
(******) Oh yes! The Swedes are seen, and probably very much feel..., like the sensible, responsible and serious older brother. With Norway as the kind and sweet little sister, and Denmark as the more rebellious younger brother. There is a reason why the Danes are seen as the Latinos of the North.
And as such Sweden and the Swedes are the victims of endless banter, which they don't get because they are Swedes...
And as the Swedes have no sense of humor, they can't fight back.
The Norwegians exist in a state of perpetual innocent bliss and no one has the heart to do anything about that.
How about the Finns and Icelanders, I hear you ask? Weell, it's a common fact that Finns are half savages, who are perpetually drunk and all carry knives.
As for the Icelanders, they are very nice people and if you encounter one on the street, just cart them off to the nearest drunk tank.
Thus ends todays introduction into Nordic cultural differences.